Dear Engineering Alumni
and Friends,

The Engineering Student Body (ESB) tutoring program has evolved into a student-run "business."

Last spring, Ryan Jones, president of the ESB, approached the School of Engineering and proposed his idea of running a tutoring service. He said that tutoring can help students, and some students are paying a lot of money to find good tutors. Two tutoring programs already existed at the school: The ESB was running a tutoring service with unpaid tutors, and the School of Engineering was providing mandatory tutoring to its SUCCESS program students with paid tutors. Ryan and other ESB officers suggested a consolidation of these programs.

The school was amazed by the ESB's bold suggestion and decided to help. So since the beginning of this semester, the ESB has been running a paid tutoring service. Here is how it works:

    1. Students needing a tutor go online to register their needs, and then a tutor and tutoring hours are assigned.

    2. After receiving tutoring, the students sign a form, which authorizes a direct charge to their bursar accounts. Students are eligible for financial aid to cover the cost of tutoring sessions.

    3. Students also fill out a tutor evaluation form, which is used to base continued hiring of tutors.

    4. A tutoring coordinator has been hired, who interviews and hires the tutors, and schedules the tutoring.

    5. Hiring and paying tutors are done through the university system. This way, ESB students do not directly collect and disburse cash, which results in better school oversight and supervision. ESB students are responsible for the account balance.

    6. Funds are collected from three sources: students paying for tutoring, the school providing a lump sum payment to ESB for the SUCCESS students to receive mandatory and free tutoring, and the school buying from ESB a "free night" on Wednesday to provide free tutoring for all.

    7. Tutoring results in a triple-win situation: Students are tutored to improve their academic work, student tutors get paid to support their education expenses, and the tutors improve their academic work as well through the act of tutoring!
So, every time I walk around Brevard Hall after 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and see a bunch of students sitting around tables in the lounge and study areas, being tutored in pairs or groups, I get a warm feeling in my heart.


cheng signature
Alex Cheng
Dean of the School of Engineering


Electrical engineering students prepare robot for competition
Ole Miss electrical engineering students have been assigned a challenging mission: to create the sensors and components needed for a "search-and-rescue" robot.

The students are creating the robot as part of their senior design class, taught by Elliott Hutchcraft, UM associate professor of electrical engineering.

engineering studentsTheir robot will be entered in the IEEE Southeast Conference competition on March 17-20 in Nashville, Tenn., and they will compete against student representatives from around 50 other universities.

"The robot is supposed to be a 'search and rescue' robot," Hutchcraft said. "It is supposed to discover 'victims' in the rooms that it must navigate. The robot can sense victims using EMF (electromagnetic field) or LEDs (light-emitting diodes). When victims are located, the robot is supposed to display and speak the location of the victims on the course."

Hutchcraft said that the students have spent this semester getting the robot's sensors to work. When the students return from their winter break, their challenge will be to get all of the sensors to work together with the microcontroller.

Some students are working on proximity sensors that the robot will use to sense the walls of the course it will navigate. For testing, they have designed a victim for the robot to find: a PVC cap that contains a circuit with an electromagnetic field. Some students are working on speech sensors, and some are working on a line tracker that will read color difference. A flashing LED will mean the victim is conscious, a green LED will mean the victim is unconscious, and no LED will mean the victim is dead.

"It's a lot of programming, a lot of code," said student Nick Harris. "The challenge is actually getting [the robot] to work properly."

To help raise the funds needed to buy the parts for the robot, students Daniel Forman and Jeffrey Tannehill successfully wrote a proposal to Northrop Grumman. (Forman had worked as an intern for the company for a couple of summers.) Vicki Crockett of Northrop Grumman presented the class with a check for $1,440 in late October.


School's Web store up and running
Support the School of Engineering and the Engineering Student Body (ESB) by purchasing items on the school's new Web store: http://www.promoplace.com/nationalawards/stores/olemiss.

The store went live on the School of Engineering website, www.engineering.olemiss.edu, in October. Now, students, alumni and friends of the school can go online and choose from eight items, including T-shirts, polos, pens and mugs featuring the Ole Miss School of Engineering logo, with more merchandise to be added based on demand.

This new Web store also will provide customers with more convenience by allowing them to pay by credit or debit card and have their items shipped quickly to them. One of the primary advantages to this new method is that the ESB will receive a portion of all sales conducted through the site.

"Over the past several years, the ESB had sold a few School of Engineering items as part of their fundraising efforts," said Scott Kilpatrick, assistant to the dean of the School of Engineering. "Primarily these items consisted of T-shirts and polos. These shirts were typically sold in the Dean's Office through walk-in customers, and they were also offered by mail through the Ole Miss Engineer. We think this change will provide an enhancement for our supporters and assistance for our students as well."

110th Anniversary Celebration being planned
Remember to mark your calendars for the School of Engineering's 110th anniversary celebration on March 31 and April 1. All graduation classes are being invited back, and this promises to be a truly exciting celebration of 110 years of engineering at Ole Miss. There will be a special ceremony honoring all the past members of the Jesse B. Woods Giving Order, a banquet recognizing our newest Engineer of Distinction and Engineer of Service, and a variety of tours and lectures provided by the faculty and students from each department. Look for additional information to follow in the next few weeks and months.

Support for the Ole Miss School of Engineering
As we approach the end of another calendar year, we would like to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has supported the Ole Miss School of Engineering and remind everyone that it's not too late to make an additional gift in support of our dynamic students and faculty. Your tax-deductible gift of $1,000 or $84 a month via EFT deduction is critical to our overall success.

Your support has allowed the school to increase the number of scholarships awarded to students and provide additional funds for faculty research. With a record enrollment this year of more than 1,000 students, newly formed partnerships with regional government agencies and the completion of the new engineering campus, your support is more critical than ever.

So, again, as you begin to think about your year-end giving, please consider the Ole Miss School of Engineering in those plans. You may choose to make that gift online here at www.umfoundation.com/makeagift/online.php?school=engineering, or if you have more specific questions about funding a specific project or idea for the school, please feel free to contact Joshua Waggoner at waggoner@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1601.

Thank you, and may you and your family enjoy your holiday season!